Ok, so right off the bat I am compelled to tell you there is nothing spiritual about this post. Of course, for the Christian everything is spiritual but the subject of this post is plainly fish and chips. Though I haven’t been able to watch much, the London 2012 Olympics has me thinking about my friends across the pond – you know who you are 😉 and with that, some good old-fashioned English cooking.
Last August, my long-time friend Sheila and I took a recreational class at a well-known culinary institute here in NYC. On the agenda were several traditional English foods, not the least of which was – you got it, fish and chips!
Regarded by many to be a venerable British institution, there isn’t much that can compare to a properly made meal of fish and chips! In fact, Winston Churchill once referred to the combination as “the good companions”. Traditionally wrapped in newspaper, fish and chips became the meal of the working class with its cheap ingredients and unmatched ability to warm the tummy on a cold day!
Below are two great videos on our topic. The first is a delightful little documentary of sorts that provides an entertaining yet informative historic overview. If you like learning about the intersection of food and culture, you will appreciate this one! The second is largely instructional but it too includes an introduction that, at least for me, is a little reminiscent of old-school Coney Island. In this video you will learn how to make fish and chips as good as any “chippy” shop in the UK! And as you will see, it’s all in the technique!
But before you watch the videos, here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure — just to prove that I actually did take the class!
This is the HOT oil boiling at 375 degrees. Frying, by the way, is a science. For example, each time something is thrown into the pot, the temperature drops. Once removed you must wait for the temperature to rise before you can add the next batch.
Here is the fried fish. As you can see, there is an unopened jar of mayonnaise. The plan was to make the tartar from scratch but we only used vinegar. Sadly I don’t have a photo of the chippy’s. Being behind schedule meant taking pictures made it’s way to the bottom of our culinary priority list.
And here is the Shepherds Pie. Did you know that Shepherds Pie is made with ground lamb while Cottage Pie is made with ground beef?
My inclination right now is to say, “Buon Appetito” but instead, how ’bout “Cheers, mate! ” 🙂 Here’s to setting aside one night in the near future to enjoy a homemade meal of fish and chips!